A few years ago, researchers at MIT showed that adults with ADHD have two brain networks that compete for their attention instead of “playing nice,” as they do for adults without ADHD. These networks are essentially a go, go, go one that lights up when we have a task to do (“task-positive network”) and a slow, slow, slow one that activates when we have nothing to do and can daydream or let our minds wander (“default mode network”). Without ADHD, when one network has its turn to be active, the other one turns down…they cooperate. With ADHD, they appear to often be active at the same time. Imagine what that’s like. If you have ADHD, you already know. If only others could experience your brain to know what it’s like….
Just the other day, my husband played this song to our daughter, and I said, “Hey, Mary Poppins had it right.” As a mental health therapist running groups for adults diagnosed with ADHD, I encourage members to have fun with their tasks as much as possible. Turn up the pleasure, excitement, interest. Some will work outside or somewhere they find pleasant, some pair a reward with tasks and some work with others, even just as company. Some do all of these.
If you struggle to start something, remember Mary Poppins. And that some of us need a little more sugar than a spoonful.
Children often say it best.
My child said this as he heard me speaking about ADHD.
I asked him what he meant, and he said it’s what a room seems like to him. I asked him what an empty room seems like, and he described how he will notice the shapes, curves, and corners of the walls; bumps on the ceiling; light seeping under the door; and the texture of the floor, adding that carpet’s like a maze of threads. He concluded, “Even an empty room is filled with so much. It’s insane.”